WASHINGTON — Robert Griffin III is having surgery Wednesday on a torn ligament in his right knee — and to see if there's a second ligament that also needs to be repaired.
Baylor coach Art Briles confirmed to USA Today and The Associated Press on Tuesday night that the Washington Redskins rookie has a torn lateral collateral ligament. He said the surgery also will determine whether Griffin has damaged the ACL in that knee.
A person close to Griffin, speaking on condition of anonymity because the Redskins have not made an announcement, also confirmed the details surrounding Griffin's injury to the AP.
A torn LCL requires a rehabilitation period of several months, possibly extending into training camp and the start of next season. A torn ACL is a more severe injury, typically requiring nine to 12 months of recovery, although Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson make a remarkable return this season some eight months after tearing an ACL — and nearly broke the NFL's single-season rushing record.
Griffin tore his ACL in the same knee while playing for Baylor in the third game of the 2009 season and missed the rest of the year. He was injured on the opening drive against Northwestern State but kept playing until halftime.
Griffin came back to win the Heisman Trophy two years later, and Briles predicted a similar recovery this time.
"RG3 will be good as new, though. I know that!" Briles said in a text message to the AP.
Griffin sprained the LCL last month against the Baltimore Ravens and missed one game. He returned wearing a bulky black brace for subsequent games and reinjured the knee at least twice in Sunday's playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks, prompting a national debate over whether coach Mike Shanahan endangered his franchise player's career by not taking him out sooner.
The Redskins said an MRI taken after the game was inconclusive, so Griffin flew to Florida on Tuesday for a more detailed examination conducted by orthopedist James Andrews. Andrews will perform the surgery Wednesday.
Griffin, the No. 2 overall pick, was one of several rookie quarterbacks to make an instant impact on the league this season. He set the NFL record for best season passer rating by a rookie QB and led the Redskins to their first NFC East title in 13 years.
But Griffin also had to leave three games early due to injuries — two because of his knee and one because of a concussion — and missed a fourth altogether because of the knee. Shanahan repeatedly said Griffin had clearance from doctors to return to play, but the coach also said he trusted Griffin's own word when deciding that the rookie should continue during Sunday's game — even though Griffin was clearly struggling after reinjuring the knee in the first quarter.
Griffin remained in the game until the fourth quarter, when he hurt the knee again while fielding a bad shotgun snap.
Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan was fired Tuesday after his injury-depleted unit struggled in a pair of season-ending losses that kept the Cowboys out of the playoffs for a third straight year.
Ryan was let go a day after running backs coach Skip Peete was fired, and less than a week after Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said things were going to get "uncomfortable" at team headquarters in nearby Irving.
"At this time, the decision has been made to move forward in a different direction philosophically on defense," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said in a statement. "I have an immense amount of respect for Rob as a person and as a football coach."
Ryan spent two seasons with the Cowboys after he was fired two years into the same job in Cleveland. He didn't hide his displeasure over being let go by the Browns before the Cowboys played them this season. He struck a different tone Tuesday.
"I enjoyed my time here," Ryan told The Dallas Morning News. "I have no hard feelings. But it doesn't matter if I coach here or not. I will find another spot."
The Cowboys finished 14th in total defense this season under Ryan, the twin brother of New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, but couldn't stop the New Orleans passing game or the Washington rushing attack when they still controlled their playoff fate in the last two weeks of the regular season.
The New York Jets' housecleaning will bring three new coordinators in 2013.
Tony Sparano was fired Tuesday as offensive coordinator after one season in which the offense ranked among the league's worst.
Sparano was hired last March to replace Brian Schottenheimer and take over an offense that struggled mightily. Instead, the former Miami Dolphins head coach wasn't able to jumpstart the running game or figure out a way to use Tim Tebow consistently as the Jets finished 30th in the NFL in total offense.
Also gone is defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, whose contract expired. Coach Rex Ryan, who worked with Pettine the last 10 years, said Pettine was interviewing for the same job in Buffalo.
The contract of quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh also was not renewed.